IT ALL STARTED WITH SOME CALLIGRAPHY:
This Spring I was excited to help the kindergarten out at the nearby elementary school. They were in need of someone to do the calligraphy for the kindergarten graduation certificates. Of course I volunteered….this is exactly my type of thing!!! It has been a while that I have picked up my pens but it was the perfect opportunity to get myself back into it.
Handwritten stylized art lettering has become very popular lately! I see it everywhere, on signs, paintings, furniture, walls, chalkboards, etc. I love it, and the more that it is practiced, the better one can get at it. You don’t have to be an artist to do lettering, it just takes a steady hand which comes from a lot of practice. Oh, and being able to do calligraphy comes from knowing cursive!!
MY CURSIVE RANT:
Unfortunately, this surge in popularity of lettering has come in an age where kids are not made to even write cursive anymore. Because of this, youngens marvel at the fact that one can even do it. My kids were taught cursive but after second grade it has not been encouraged or forced to be used like it was when I went to school. We learned cursive and we never went back to print because it was so much faster. I think it is unfortunate. My kids( cough….I have a 13 year old) have a hard time reading my handwriting!!! And …. how the heck are they going to know how to write their own signature? What will become of those old family journals when one stumbles across them in the future? No-one will be able to even read them? WOW….this isn’t happening in our family that is for sure! I want my kids to be able to enjoy old notes, cards, artistic signs, journals etc.. I don’t want them to have to look for someone to read it to them. YIKES!
I am completely confused why our society is starting to abandon the need for this. It is definitely due to the fact that the kids are using computers and devices in schools and any papers that are turned in are mainly sent via email to their teacher. Handwritten papers are not the norm! I understand all that and want my kids to continue using computers in school. I get it….I’m a techy geek too. However, why isn’t there a push to use cursive on tests, note-taking and anything handwritten in the classroom? My daughter was so excited to learn it, but because they never pushed them to use it after 2nd grade, she has completely lost it and gets frustrated when writing script. This same scenario happened to my son 3 years prior. It’s a shame. They obviously think it is important enough to teach so why not put it to use year after year?
CURSIVE AND THE BRAIN:
Because it had been a while, I had forgotten how relaxing it is to play around with script and my calligraphy pens. I was shocked that I felt the same sort of zen as I get after a yoga class. I had always heard there was a correlation with cursive, script and brain development but never actually knew it to be true until I heard this info about one of my son’s friend:
Recently, this past year, my son’s middle school friend had a stroke. He had been recuperating well throughout the year with different therapies. Surprisingly, I heard through the mom grapevine that when he started writing in cursive, this brain exercise was really helping him. I recently came across this article and thought I should include it in my rant :). https://mashable.com/2013/06/11/technology-and-cursive/#08i1YYDLtaqa
The above article includes this quote I love by Suzanne Asherson, an occupational therapist, who also believes cursive should be taught to our children because of the benefits that go beyond just writing.
Putting pen to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else, even in this age of e-mails, texts and tweets. In fact, learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.”
This article was a great read. It portrays the debate over handwriting in the classroom, but for me, it got me thinking that maybe I should be incorporating cursive into our family exercises over the summer.
MY SUMMER PLAN:
Little do my kids know what is coming this summer. HAHAHA. Don’t judge my evil laugh! This is good for them and in the end they will be thanking me. Not only do I have to keep up their English and math skills because they do regress, but apparently, there have been skills that has been taken out of their curriculums. I won’t go there; another rant! ha. SO……. What they have missed during the school year, I will be teaching them, and it will be done in CURSIVE!! To make them not hate me, I got them all calligraphy pens to make this process more fun.
This is what I got them to practice with:
On one side of the marker it is a pen and the other side has a calligraphy tip. They can at least be able to learn and practice cursive with the felt tip pen side and when their hand gets better at it, we will switch to the calligraphy side.
HMMM…we will see how this goes! I will have to update this post on their progression.
MY CALLIGRAPHY PENS:
If you are interested in trying calligraphy, start practicing your handwriting in cursive first with a regular pen. Once your hand is steady and even, buy yourself a calligraphy marker pen that you can start playing around with to see if you like it. I usually don’t use the marker calligraphy pens because I think they are actually harder and more frustrating to use. They can be good for beginners to try out since you don’t have to worry about ink explosions, but I have found the better calligraphy pens give much better results. I have a few different types of calligraphy pens but one of my favorites is a fountain pen by SHEAFFER.
My calligraphy pen has an inserted ink cartridge and although I do have a couple of old style fountain pens that get dipped, when I don’t want to deal with all that, I use the SHEAFFER. I also have 3 or 4 different size tips that can be switched out. Art supply stores and online will have refill cartridges as well as the pens. There are other brands that carry the ink cartridge style that would be very similar to use that would work just as well. I love the ink cartridge style because it is great for beginners up to all levels.
I had a lot of fun doing all these certificates. My kindergartner watched me hand-write each name and since she is friends with all the kids, she kept asking …”Who are you writing now?” She loved being with me and I loved sharing that side of me with my kids! My other daughter asked me if I would teach her someday. Besides the fact that they knocked my table every now and then, I was so happy they were interested and mesmerized by it. When I was finishing up, my kindergartner said, “oh my gosh mommy……THAT PEN…I just have to get one of those pens!” ….so cute. AND….my response….
YUP, VERY SOON!!